Graham Parker - Three Chords Good Review (album rock)

This album seemed like such a great idea: Reunite a brilliant songwriter with his crack backup band after 31 years, and a classic album surely will follow. Unfortunately, it works better as a concept. Graham Parker and the Rumour don't squeeze out many sparks here.

Perhaps the worst part is that Parker's lyrics are lazy. He used to be clever, but here he's complacent: "I know you been through more than enough/Lots of sad things pain and other stuff." This from a guy who effortlessly turned people into film exposures in "Discovering Japan," a guy who took just two lines to express the misfortune of a Venezuelan tribe's encounter with white missionaries: "Losing their loincloths as they gain ethnicide/All dressed in Western clothes and God will be their guide." ("Break Them Down.") Now, the best he can do is enough/stuff?